Noerd is building a new bridge between creatives and clients
“I started Noerd with the mission of establishing a community for the best freelance creatives out there,” says the founder, Benkt Wästlund.
- Daniel Milroy Maher
- 5 October 2023
Noerd, a new Stockholm-based platform that connects companies with independent creatives, has launched. Founded by Benkt Wästlund, it was built in collaboration with local design studio Note, who Benkt says were chosen for “their high creative standards and ability to attract, evaluate, and recruit the best talents in all creative fields – without the old habits of the traditional agencies”.
This desire to break away from the typical agency setup and formula was a key driving force behind Noerd’s founding, with Benkt having recently witnessed “a dynamic shift in the creative industry as many top talents transition from agencies to freelancing”. As such, his idea for this new network was to prioritise community and transparency, treating it more as a safe and inspiring middleground between clients and creatives, rather than a purely transactional affair.
“I believe that the way of getting there is to really care about the creatives and take their profession as seriously as any other profession,” Benkt explains. “It is not a hobby for work as some make it sound. It is the opposite – [this is] really important expertise that’s needed in all parts of organisations. At Noerd, creatives are our heart and soul, and the key to our success.”
Keen to reflect the platform’s values in its identity, Benkt worked with Note studio to come up with a look and feel that design director Johanna Lundberg describes as “self-assured, yet friendly,” just like the creatives that feature on it. Johanna explains how the team developed an editorial approach that informed every aspect of the identity. “Just as a magazine has its set rules, such as the format, the grid, the masthead, a typographic family, it allows for a lot of creativity within that set framework,” she says. “A feature can be calm or bold, colourful or paired back. It is not static in its approach, it can continually evolve and improve.” All the photography, video and illustrations will come from many different creators, so this framework allows for variety within a strong core identity and voice.
“The website is built on a flexible grid, framing everything from articles, spacers and spot illustrations,” says Frida Häggström, graphic designer at Note. “The site has an analogue editorial feel, but comes alive through interactive and animated elements that manifests the lively identity; shapeshifting buttons, scrolling text and a variable logo that stretches between multiple compositions.”
The logo itself is a playful wordmark, with letterforms that differ in weight, including the ‘e’ which bulges proudly in the middle of the word. When animated, these letterforms stretch and shrink, jostling for prime position – not unlike the process of trying to make yourself stand out as a creative in a competitive industry. A “sign-off” version of the logo also leaps across the screen using simple yet effective motion design, bringing further personality to the Noerd brand.
Finally, the overall tone of the website was crucial in presenting Noerd as an innovative space, rather than an antiquated agency. Frida says Note put a lot of energy into making the brand experience compelling, thinking of it more as a magazine with a narrative. “Even if something is information-heavy and presents diagrams, it doesn’t have to be dry or predictive,” she says.
Exploring the site, it’s clear that the last thing anyone would say was that Noerd felt dry. Bold, personable and full of little surprises, it feels like a platform suited to the kind of forward-facing creativity it champions. And this, for Benkt, is crucial in establishing Noerd as the future of talent representation.
“In essence, I envision Noerd as a bridge, connecting businesses with top freelance creatives, offering security without excessive costs,” he explains. “The motivation is deeply rooted in creating a nurturing environment for freelancers with full transparency as a guiding star. Their success is our success.”
Noerd visual identity (Copyright © Noerd & Note, 2023)
About the Author
Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.